Something big happened on Jan 8th. It is the start of the largest scaled as well as periodical migration in human history – the Chinese spring transport (春运), which was, is and always will be the dominating theme of Chinese media for the next 40 days.
It is predicted that during the 40-day long transport season, there will be over 3.15 billion passenger flow, breaking another historical record set by 2011 with 2.85 billion(sina). To help you get a better picture of the situation, according to Netease, it is like the whole population of China moves twice.
In soso baike, the reasons why people are starting to travel all at the same period of every year are briefly categorized into 3 aspects:
1. Uneven development of the economy – the east and south part of China is much more developed than the rest of the country, which results in the huge population of migrant workers.
2. The transportation system is inadequate, which fails to handle passengers eruption properly – Chinese railway network is the 3rd largest in the world in terms of miles, but break it down, it is only 5.8 cm per capita (2006).
3. There is not enough long-period holiday. Except for the National Day golden week, Spring Festival is the only holiday lasts longer than a week. And Spring Festival happens to be the biggest festival for Chinese people. Everyone wants to go home.
Oh, and this year, there is another reason adding to list as covered in our previous post: Internet booking.
Photos around the Internet on the spring transport.
Dec 30 2011, at Nanjing Railway Station. University student also has significant contribution to the spring transport passenger flow, since schools finish during late December and early January.
Dec 30, 2011, Wuhan Hankou railway station, a little girl is kissing her father while waiting in line for the tickets.
Dec 29,2011, Anhui Hefei railway station.
Dec 29, 2011, at Hunan Changsha railway station.
Jan 1, 2012, Zhaoxing Station. The total railway traffic on the opening day of 2012 hit 5.096 million people (Netease).
Jan 1, 2012, Xi’an Station.
Jan 1, 2012, Zhejiang Province, Zhoushan City.
To attract more patients, a hospital in Fuzhou City advertised on its screen board that says “come to see our doctors and we will give you train tickets.”
Jan 8, 2012, the official kick-off day of the largest migration in human history. a woman is carrying her luggage.
Jan 8, 2012, a migrant worker in Shanghai is proudly holding his ticket home.
Jan 8, 2012, a man was in argument with the police when his too-eager wish of getting a ticket home was unmet.
Getting a ticket is a difficult home going story, surviving the journey is another.
Nonetheless, all these struggles and torments are bearable and worthwhile, because what awaits them at the end of the trip is home, sweet home.